Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Tuesday, March 19th 2013 6:32 am by Wendy Wagner
ARCHIVED ADVISORY - All advisories expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
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The Bottom Line

We continue to have a LOW avalanche danger today in the Eastern Turnagain Arm mountains. Natural and human triggered avalanches are unlikely. There are however a few things to keep in mind on LOW danger springtime days like today: Cornice falls, wet loose sluffs on warming southerly aspects and dry sluffs on steep shady aspects. There is also the potential for pockets of shallow wind slabs to be lurking in isolated areas.

 Show the Complete North American Avalanche Danger Scale
1 Low Alpine / Above 2,500' Travel Advice: Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
1 Low Treeline / 1,000'-2,500' Travel Advice: Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
1 Low Below Treeline / Below 1,000' Travel Advice: Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
Avalanche Problem 1

It was a quiet day in backcountry yesterday. Spring break is over and it seems many folks are tuckered out from significant time spent enjoying the past several days of good snow and sunny skies. The plethora of tracks that litter the landscape tell this tale and we are becoming in need of a refresher - possibly this weekend. The clear and cold weather is recycling our powder however and helping out our riding and skiing conditions. 

We just received two observations from Saturday worth mentioning. One is a skier triggered slab. This was fairly small but it's suspect that buried surface hoar was the culprit. The other was a large natural avalanche in the Portage area. This natural seems to be an outlier event in very complex and steep terrain. Thank you to all who have submitted observations this year. Keep them coming. They are invaluable to us!

As Fitz mentioned yesterday, LOW danger doesn't mean NO danger and below are good things to keep in mind if getting out in the backcountry today:

Loose snow:
Wet loose avalanches will be possible on southerly aspects as the surfaces warms through the day. These can become more worrisome in steep sustained terrain where a small point release can entrain large enough amounts of heavy snow to push a person around. Additionally, dry snow sluffing on steep (40+ degrees) northerly shaded aspects can be expected. These dry sluffs continue to be low volume and manageable.

Cornice fall:
Despite the abundance of large and overhanging cornices in the region, we have not heard of or seen any recent failures in the past several days. However, the unpredictable and high consequence nature of these keeps them blinking on the radar. They are predominantly on south and southwest aspects and time spent underneath them should as limited as possible.

Old Wind slab:
There are many old wind slabs scattered about and a few of these may be sitting on buried surface hoar or developing facets below. There is a chance a person could find and trigger one of these older slabs in isolated areas. This occurred on Saturday to a party who triggered a slab on a SW facing slope in the Turnagain area, mentioned above.

Mountain Weather

Dazzling sunny skies and cold temperatures are over us again today. Yesterday we warmed up to the teens on the ridgetops and mid 20’s F around 1,000’. Overnight temperatures have dropped to around 10F in most areas. Over the past 24 hours winds have been light out of the NW with gusts to 15mph.

Today will be much of the same. Temperatures should warm to the teens on the ridges and 20’s at 1,000’. Winds are expected to shift to a more northerly direction but remain light with gusts to 15mph.

Looking to the future, our clear skies and associated blocking high pressure, look to remain through Thursday. On Friday models are showing a shift in the pattern that will bring clouds and a chance for precipitation over the weekend. Stay tuned.



Kevin will issue the next advisory tomorrow morning, March 20th.

This is a general backcountry avalanche advisory issued for Turnagain Arm with Turnagain Pass as the core advisory area (this advisory does not apply to highways, railroads, or operating ski areas).

Winter snowmachine use open/closed status and riding conditions updates

Riding status is not associated with avalanche danger. An area will be open to motorized use in accordance to the Forest Management Plan when snow coverage is adequate to protect underlying vegetation. Backcountry hazards including avalanche hazard are always present regardless of the open status of motorized use areas.

(Updated: Mar 22, 2019 )

Glacier District
Johnson Pass: Open
Placer River: ClosedClosed as of 3.20.19 due to lack of snow.
Skookum Drainage: ClosedPlacer access closed as of 3.20.19 due to lack of snow.
Turnagain Pass: Open
Twentymile: ClosedClosed as of 3.20.19 due to lack of snow.
Seward District
Carter Lake: Open
Lost Lake Trail: ClosedClosed as of 3/22. Unfortunately HEAVY rain over the past week has washed much of the snow off the lower stretches of this trail.
Primrose Trail: OpenPlease stay on trail to avoid resource damage through forested areas.
Resurrection Pass Trail: ClosedClosed for the 2018/19 season. Next season will be open to motorized use.
Snug Harbor: Open
South Fork Snow River Corridor: ClosedClosed as of 3.20.19 due to lack of snow.
Summit Lake: Open

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The information in this advisory is from the U.S. Forest Service, which is solely responsible for its content. This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur. This advisory provided by the Chugach National Forest, in partnership with Friends of the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center.

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